Most people take the alphabet for granted. It has been a part of our culture and civilization for so long that most of us haven't the faintest idea of how or where it originated. Yet the idea of using abstract symbols — which we call letters — to stand for the speech sounds of a language is one of the greatest intellectual inventions in all of human history.
The other day I was having dinner at a friend's house and was chatting with his 12-year-old daughter who attends a local public school. I asked her how she was doing, and she told me that she hated school -— not merely disliked school, but hated it.
On July 4, 1776, after months of heated debate, representatives of the Continental Congress voted unanimously that “these United Colonies are and of right ought to be Free and Independent States.”
Central to the politics of states with democratically-constituted governments is the notion that all sovereignty resides in “the People.” In no place and at no time has this idea been more prevalent than in contemporary America. It is an idea that both Democrats and Republicans peddle furiously.
In spite of its popularity, however, it is a fiction. Worse, it is an invidious fiction.